The Nashville Predators have supplied the German National Team is playing in the 2010 Winter Olympics with two of its more experienced players. Veteran Marcel Goc, as well as rookie Alexander Sulzer are two of the seven NHL players to play for Germany in this year's Winter Games.
Marcel Goc was signed by the Predators last Summer after playing four seasons with the San Jose Sharks. The 26 year old center was born in Calw, Germany and is the highest German draft pick in history being drafted 20th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by San Jose.
The Predators have been surprised with Goc's offensive contributions this season. He was signed originally as a roll player for his face-off abilities and defensive capabilities for Nashville's energy or grinder lines.
In 52 games prior to the Olympic break, Goc has 11 goals and 10 assists while centering the Preds third line and taking most of the face-offs in the Predator defensive zone.
Goc has represented Germany on the international level almost every season since he was a teenager. He has played on ten different teams including four World Junior squads, four World Championship teams, and one World Cup of Hockey.
In 2006 he played on the German National Team at the Olympics in Torino. He played in all five of Germany's games and scored one goal.
Alexander Sulzer has split time with the Predators and their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee this season. He was penciled in as the Pred's sixth defenseman in the preseason but has been edged out for much of his expected playing time by the surprising emergence of rookie Cody Franson.
In Nashville, Sulzer has played in 19 games and has two assists. At Milwaukee, he has been much more productive, producing at a point per game pace with four goals and 15 assists in 19 games.
Sulzer was drafted in the third round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft that was held in Nashville. He was in the same Predator draft class as Kevin Klein and Olympians Shea Weber (Canada) and Ryan Suter (USA).
The twenty-five year old Sulzer was born in Kaufbeuren, Germany and has played on five previous German National teams. He has played in the World Championships three times and the World Junior team once.
Sulzer was a team mate of Goc's at the 2006 Olympic games. He also played in five games and had one assist.
Germany is a decided underdog in this year's Olympic Hockey Tournament in Vancouver. They are seeded last in the 12 team field and will struggle to win a game as they are in a round-robin group with Sweden, Finland and Belarus.
Regardless of how the German team fares, the Olympic experience will be the same for Marcel Goc and Alexander Sulzer as is is for any of the other thousands of athletes that come from around the world to compete against the best in the world in their individual sports.
Germany opens their play tonight in the primetime game at 6:30 CST on CNBC against Sweden.
The other two men's games today are Finland versus Belarus (2 p.m. CST, MSNBC) and Czech Republic and Slovakia (10:55 p.m. CNBC).
In Pred Nation...
Mark Willoughby continues to share adventures from his trip with Random Ruminations from the Road.
Paul McCann previews tonight's Hockey Buzz Radio and has a few thoughts about the Versus-DirecTV debacle.
Jim Diamond has the story on the two Predator prospects who won weekly awards.
Rachel at What The Puck is looking for comments on Olympic commercials. Here is the first up for your perusal.
Center Ice Magazine has an article on Blake Geoffrion.
Terry Crisp talks to NHL.com about the Olympics. They also have a Marty Erat story.
If you missed the premiere episode of Red Light District Radio, here is the link to the podcast.
Forechecker continues the SWOT series asking for input on weaknesses. Dirk also has the full text of the press releases from the Predators on prospects Blake Geoffrion and Michael Latta's player of the week honors in separate leagues.
Forechecker also has a look at at yesterday's US and Canada games and news of the Swedish lines.
Yesterday's games produced no surprises other than the small margin in the US beating Switzerland 3-1. Canada easily handled Norway in an 8-0 win and Russia showed a few defensive cracks in an 8-2 win over Latvia.
Predators Ryan Suter and Shea Weber each picked up an assist in their respective games. Ryan Suter took a bad roughing penalty in the third period that led to Switzerland's power play goal. Excommunicated Predator Alex (Rudy) Radulov scored Russia's second goal and resulted in an outpouring of hate from Predator fans on Twitter.
Michelle Kenneth interviewed Team USA Captain Jamie Langenbrunner and has a good article from it.
Here's another take on Langenbrunner's intentions at the Olympics from Intent To Blow.
Puck Daddy Takes a look at the struggling goaltenders heading into the Olympic tournament.
Bill Daly was on XM204's HTM on Tuesday talking about the NHL's participation in the Olympics.
Versus has a story about the five patsies at the Olympics. Could any of these non NHL filed teams provide an upset?
Puck Report continues their quality Olympic coverage with a look at what Team Canada's second and third team would look like. Dan Hamhuis and the other Preds from Canada must be on the fourth team.
From the Rink has Part 1 of a look at the 51 returning Olympians.
Around the NHL...
For those in the New York/New Jersey area, mark your calenders for the WhatsBrewinStock event set for March 20th. We will be involved in some way from afar even if it is only for the radio telethon part of the festivities that will follow on March 25.
Another episode in the referee apocalypse from Chris Wassel.
Mirtle has a look at league wide and individual team attendance figures for the season so far.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass